Don’t jump in the lake: 10 ways to enjoy Utah Lake without a boat

Utah Lake has many summer activities including sailing during the warm months, but the weather is cooling down. (Photo by Matt Bennett)

Utah Lake has many summer activities including sailing during the warm months. (Photo by Matt Bennett)

Labor Day has past, and with it goes days spent sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and waterskiing on Utah Lake. But you can still enjoy the state’s largest freshwater lake without a boat. Try one of these activities to be at the lake without actually getting in it:

1. Get on your bike

There are tons of paved trails ideal for biking that lead to and around Utah Lake. Try the Provo River Parkway Trail, which starts at Utah Lake State Park and stretches 15 miles to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon.

2.  Take a hike

Lace up your shoes and explore one of the lake’s aforementioned trails on foot or blaze your own trail for an off-road experience.

3. Pack a picnic

Assemble your favorite lunch or dinner to-go and try one of the many covered or open-air picnic tables around the lake. For instance, Pelican Bay Marina is a favorite spot for dining al fresco.

4. Watch for birds

Utah Lake is reportedly home to some of the best bird-watching sites in the state. Favorite spots among birders include Spanish Fork Delta, Hobble Creek Delta and Lincoln Beach.

5. Pitch a tent (or pull an RV)

Year-round camping is available at Utah Lake State Park, where the amenities include restrooms, water and RV sites. Reserve a site online at

6. Snap a photo

Grab your digital SLR camera (or just use the built-in camera on your smartphone) and head down to the lake for a photo shoot. The scenery is perfect for family photos, or you can try your hand at photographing wildlife, nature or landscapes.

7. Go off-roading

The west and southwest sides of Utah Lake offer ideal off-roading terrain without the crowds.

8. Take a drive

American Fork, Provo and Nebo Canyons aren’t the only scenic places in Utah Valley for a Sunday drive. Enjoy cruising U.S. Highway 68 around Utah Lake, and stop at the many lookout points to stretch your legs and read up on lake history.

9. Go fish

Fish year-round at Utah Lake, where you can catch channel catfish, walleye, white bass, black bullhead and several species of freshwater panfish. In the warmer months, you can fish at one of the five marinas around the lake and at many other spots. In the winter, ice fishing is popular.

10. Get historic

Stop by the Utah Lake visitor’s center to see a display of mounted fish, American Indian arrowheads and grinding stones, dozens of historic photos and artifacts from throughout the lake’s history.


Natalie Hollingshead is a former magazine editor turned freelance writer and editor. She writes regularly about home, family, food and travel for a handful of publications, and is co-author of the book "Happy Homemaking” (Cedar Fort, 2012) with Elyssa Andrus. A native of Alberta, Canada, Natalie lives in Orem with her husband and their three children.

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